Ducks, Wildcats join forces hours before kickoff

PHOENIX — The Oregon Ducks and Kansas State Wildcats joined forces for a service project at the nation's first food bank hours before facing off in the Fiesta Bowl in what's become a pre-game tradition for the UO.

The University of Oregon Duck joined the Oregon marching Band and cheer squad at the project at St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance in downtown Phoenix.

Volunteers — students, fans, alumni, faculty and staff —lined up in assembly lines and packed more than 250,000 meals in boxes before they were packed and wrapped in the food bank's large warehouse.

St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance serves two-thirds of Arizona's 15 counties. The food bank distributed more than 72 million pounds of food in Fiscal Year 2009-10, providing enough food into the community for nearly 300,000 meals per day.

Two years ago, the University of Oregon and Auburn University worked together at the food bank to pack 250,000 meals before the BCS title game. A year ago, Oregon and Wisconsin completed a similar project before the Rose Bowl.